<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego https://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usMon, 15 Jan 2018 23:57:14 -0800Mon, 15 Jan 2018 23:57:14 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[13 Children Hospitalized, Parents Jailed on Torture Charges]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:53:34 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/parentstortureCA.jpg

A Perris, California, mother and father are behind bars Monday after one of their children escaped their home and reported to sheriff's deputies that 12 of her siblings were still being held captive at their home, some of them shackled with chains and padlocks to their beds.

All of the children appeared malnourished when they were found Sunday, some so severely that deputies initially believed the adult children to be kids, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, have been booked on charges of torture and child endangerment. They are each being held in lieu of $9 million bail.

According to the sheriff's department, a 17-year-old girl fled the house in the 100 block of Muir Woods Road early Sunday morning and was able to call 911 using a cellphone she had taken from the home.

Despite her age, deputies at first believed her to be around 10 years old because of she was emaciated and malnourished.

At the home, deputies found children shackled to beds in "dark and foul-smelling surroundings."

"Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house, but were shocked to discover that 7 of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29," police said in the statement. "The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty."

NBC Los Angeles has reached out to the Turpins' attorney for comment.

Neighbors say that the family kept to themselves, and when the children did come out, they did not look healthy.

"They looked very unnutrioned [sic], very white, like they never got sun at all," Wendy Martinez said. "I mean, they would never come out and when they did, the lady would stand there watching them."

Real estate records also reveal that Sandcastle Day School - a private school owned by David Turpin - is located at the couple's home.

The couple's victims range in age from 2 to 29 years old. All of them have been hospitalized.

NBC4's Tony Shin contributed to this story.

Photo Credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[12 People Cited For Feeding Homeless Plan Legal Suit]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 19:45:32 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/9_People_Face_Misdemeanor_Charges_for_The_Homeless.jpg

Twelve people are now facing misdemeanor charges in El Cajon, California, after handing out food to the homeless at a public park Sunday.

Volunteers and groups showed up to Wells Park to hand out food, clothes, shoes and toiletries. As of Monday, the 12 people said they plan to take legal action against the city of El Cajon.

“If I’m going to be arrested for something, let it be for feeding the homeless,” said Matthew Schneck, who was cited Sunday. “I’m not going to apologize for doing the right thing."

El Cajon police wrote up citations to each person handing out food, including 14-year-old Ever Parmley.

“I was passing out food and this guy was like can you step aside please," Parmley told NBC 7. 

They were each charged with a misdemeanor for violating El Cajon municipal code 1.28.010. The ordinance dates back to October 2017, during the height of the Hepatitis A outbreak.

Charles Marks tells NBC 7, “I’ve been given a court date under the impression this represents being arrested on a misdemeanor, but it’s just a citation." 

The city said the ordinance was passed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, and prohibits "food sharing" in public spaces, which includes city parks.

In November, NBC 7 talked with councilmembers after signs were posted at Wells Park about the ordinance.

Councilmember Ben Kalasho told NBC 7,“What we're saying is feeding them at city parks is a bad idea given the situation that we're in with the hepatitis A outbreak, and the fact that it makes the place completely messy afterward.”

Kalasho continued, “you can go out there, pick them up, take them back to your house and feed them and board them and room them and have them take a shower if you're really wanting to help."

The City of El Cajon told NBC 7 the ordinance is meant to be temporary until the County lifts the emergency health declaration on Hepatitis A. In a statement, the city also said there are over a dozen locations in the area that serve free food to the homeless.

An attorney representing the twelve people cited said he doesn’t believe the motive behind the ordinance is to stop the spread of Hepatitis A, but rather an attempt to get the homeless out of the city.

“It was really a disguise,” said attorney Scott Dreher. “People were complaining homeless people will come to the park if you give them free stuff.”

Dreher plans to file motions to dismiss the misdemeanor charges and file an injunction against the city.

The twelve people cited will have scheduled court dates and could face a $1,000 fine and jail time.

<![CDATA[Violent Home Invasion Disturbs Rancho Santa Fe Community]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:43:41 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-light-SDPD-generic11.jpg

Neighbors in Rancho Santa Fe remained on edge Monday after a violent home invasion left the community reeling.

Residents in one home were tied up and held at gunpoint while four burglars ransacked their place inside an exclusive gated community with homes worth millions of dollars. Authorities are still searching for the culprits.

The intruders entered the home on Stonebridge Lane near San Elijo Lagoon Friday night, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) Lt. Russell Shimmin. Deputies were alerted to the home invasion robbery at about 11 p.m.

Each man was wearing a mask and was armed with a gun. SDSO said it was not yet known what possessions were taken before the suspects took off in an unknown direction.

A few months ago, there was another home invasion robbery just a few blocks away. Last December, thieves took off with jewelry and irreplaceable family heirlooms from a house on El Mirlo.

In that case, two suspects were captured on surveillance video. One of them wore a headset apparently to communicate with the other. The suspects have not yet been caught but the video clearly displays one of their faces.

Sheriff's investigators are working to determine whether the two cases are related.

One neighbor who was robbed before in his home was particularly unnerved by the incident.

"It brought back some of those same kind of feelings where you just don't feel quite secure even in your own home," John Towart said.

In 2016, Towart and his wife were robbed in their Solana Beach home. Some of his personal property was recovered after the thieves were caught.

"You are absolutely violated. We had all of our drawers gone through, all the rooms were gone through in the house, with the exception of the master bedroom and we were in bed when they were here," Tolwart said.

One of the victims involved in Friday's incident told NBC 7 that everyone was safe, despite being shaken. As of Monday, the suspects remain at large.

<![CDATA[Thieves Caught on Camera Stealing Lawn Equipment from Employee's Truck]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 23:18:37 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/heaviland+lawn+equipment+robbery+01122018.png

A landscape management company in Vista is warning the public after catching two thieves stealing a lawn mower and other equipment from an employee's truck parked right outside there office last Friday.

"If you live or work in the Vista area, stay safe and vigilant," Heaviland Landscape Management wrote in part on a Facebook post with cell phone video of the robbery attached.

The video shows a small dark grey truck pull up alongside an employee's truck in front of the office at 2180 La Mirada Drive. Two men dressed in dark-colored jackets got out and scrambled to unload a lawn mower and a gas-powered leaf blower from the bed of the employee's truck into their own.

The pair sped off eastbound on La Mirada Drive, but where they went next is unknown.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department confirmed that a police report was filed at the location last Friday, but did not provide any additional information.

Heaviland is also hoping the community can rally for its employee and donate to a GoFundMe page it set up to help him replace the stolen goods.

"This employee has two jobs and works incredibly hard," the page reads. "He spends his weekdays working at Heaviland and works weekends doing lawn care for his own customers. He was rightfully very upset and disheartened when he learned that his equipment was stolen."

According to the page, both pieces of stolen equipment were secured in the employee's truckbed with chains.

Heaviland thinks the suspects used chain cutters to set the equipment free. One person has come forward claiming they can identify one of the suspects spotted in the video, according to the company.

A security camera at a nearby business gave deputies a good look at the license plate of the suspects' truck and authorities are trying to track it down.

Heaviland said that it had nearly $100k worth of equipment stolen from its warehouse last year, and nearby Orion Construction said it suffered six-figure losses due to break-ins during the same period.

Photo Credit: Heaviland Landscape Management]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Boy, 6, Dies After Battling Rabies From Bat Scratch]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:49:47 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/011518+Ryker+Roque.jpg

A 6-year-old Florida boy who was undergoing experimental treatment after being diagnosed with rabies has died.

Ryker Roque passed away in an Orlando hospital, his father said Sunday.

Roque had been undergoing the treatment, called the Milwaukee protocol, after he was scratched by a bat. His father, Henry Roque, had found the sick bat and put it in a bucket, telling his son not to touch it.

"So, apparently he put his hand in there and touched it and he said it only scratched him, so I frantically googled it real quick and it says to wash his hands with soap, hot water for five minutes," Henry Roque, told NBC News.

When Ryker complained of numb fingers and a headache a week later, he was rushed to the hospital. Ryker was put into a medically induced coma, forcing his body to create its own specialized antibodies to fight off the illness.

The treatment has only worked twice in the U.S. and 18 times around the world.

Photo Credit: Roque Family]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Found Stabbed to Death in Ravine ID'd]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:45:57 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/EncantoHomicideVictim.JPG

A body found in an Encanto canyon under suspicious circumstances over the weekend was identified Monday as a 29-year-old woman.

Lavaughn Rawshanda Nicole Williams of San Diego was located in a ravine about 10 to 12 feet down the pathway. Police at nearby Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park were called to the scene by some concerned citizens Saturday.

The grisly discovery prompted a homicide investigation.

William's body was spotted at about 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 13 by a father and daughter walking their dog along a canyon near South 66th Street just off Skyline Drive, the San Diego Police Department said. The area is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. 

Officers weren't able to get too close without damaging the crime scene, due to the precarious position of William's body on a slope, police said. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office was called to move the body, and SDPD Homicide Detectives began their investigation.

The woman appeared to have injuries to the upper torso and a significant amount of blood covered the body, police said. She may have been there for a few days before being discovered. 

As the investigation continued, it became clear the victim was stabbed to death, according to the SDPD.

No other information is currently available.

<![CDATA[2nd Annual MLK March Takes Place Downtown]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 22:01:27 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2nd_Annual_MLK_March_Takes_Place_Downtown.jpg

A large crowd of San Diegans gathered Downtown Monday afternoon in observance of the city’s 2nd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day March.

When Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, he was in town supporting sanitation workers on strike over the issue of income inequality.

Organizers of Monday’s march said that same issue is the most pressing problem here in San Diego, especially when it comes to homelessness.

After the Mayor's State of the City address on Thursday that included a big announcement of plans for a homeless intake center in the East Village, the topic was very much on the minds of the marching crowd.

“In the richest country in the world, that this is going on? It ain't right,” Clairemont resident Walter Cameron said.

Cameron went on to describe the march as “the start of illuminating a conversation about what must be done. It’s the start of bringing people together around these things. It’s the start of encouraging empathy for our brothers and sisters who need help.”

Several city, faith and community leaders present at the march, like San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez, echoed Cameron’s sentiment.

“Marching for jobs, marching against poverty and marching against inequality,” Alvarez listed. “Why is it 50 years later and we're still marching for the same things?

Others were more critical and placed the problem at the hans of city officials.

“I think that the mayor and city council are trying to do something, but I don't think they understand the significance of being able to have opportunity and subsidized housing first for these folks out here,” San Diego National Action Network (NAN) President Rev. Shane Harris said.

The march was also a call to register and mobilize voters, with Rev. Harris announcing the NAN’s goal to register 200 voters by June.

<![CDATA[Testing the Best Frozen Pizza]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 21:30:42 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/frozen+pizz.jpg

Your family might have a favorite frozen pizza that you eat as-is or even add some toppings to. But, maybe there’s a pizza in the store that’s even healthier and tastier than your go-to.

Consumer Reports food experts evaluated 26 different frozen vegetable and cheese pies for taste, nutrition and price.

CR considers the nutrition profile and also evaluates for taste. Ideally, a store-bought frozen pizza should taste like it was just put together with fresh ingredients.

It’s a high bar, but CR found some pies that came close.

Vegetable pizzas are your best bet nutritionally, and they got some of the highest marks for taste.

California Pizza Kitchen Spinach and Artichoke Crispy Thin Crust Pizza has chunky artichokes in a white cream sauce. It packs a garlicky punch and has less fat and sodium than most of the pizzas tested.

Trader Joe’s Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza boasts a variety of chunky veggies like peppers, zucchini and eggplant, and it has 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Thin and Crispy Crust Pizza Vegetable Medley also has fresh-tasting cherry tomatoes, peppers, red onion, and pepperoncini peppers that add a little tang.

The top-ranked cheese pizzas earned “good” marks overall.

American Flatbread Tomato Sauce and Three Cheese Pizza has an interesting blend of flavorful cheese on a thin, whole grain style crust.

Amy’s Cheese Pizza is a combination of tender, yeasty crust topped with mozzarella and a fresh tasting tomato sauce.

<![CDATA[Victim of Marine Photo Sharing Scandal Addresses the Military's Response]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 18:56:09 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Female_Veterans_Take_Part_in_MeToo_Movement.jpg

Long before there was the #MeToo movement, women veterans were calling attention to the issue of harassment and abuse in the United States military.

It peaked last year with a nude picture sharing scandal that rocked the U.S. Marine Corps.

Nearly a year after that scandal broke, NBC 7 heard from one of the victims about a new effort to combat the problem.

In the spring of 2017, a veteran called attention to private Facebook groups where active-duty military and veterans were sharing nude pictures of female colleagues.

The commandant of the Marines testified before Congress and promised the branch would clamp down by increasing penalties and shutting down the groups that had as many as 30,000 users.

Kayla Carnivaleis, a Marine veteran, was one of the women who discovered her pictures were shared without her knowledge or permission.

“No matter what, the rest of my life I am going to feel victimized because you know you can just copy and paste a picture,” Carnivaleis said.

But nearly a year after the scandal broke, women in the military are still being exploited, according to Carnivaleis.

As new, smaller Facebook sites are popping up, Carnivale said, "Women's pictures are still being exploited on those sites and just recently, my picture was back up on another one.”

She said she has asked Facebook to respond, but they have done nothing to remove the pictures.

NBC 7 has learned the Marine Corps was well aware of the issue long before the nude picture sharing scandal broke.

Officers were briefed by a Marine Colonel in Quantico, Virginia, in 2014 about the problem and were offered ways to deal with the culture of misogyny and harassment online, but little was done.

U.S. Marine Col. Scott Jenson, now a veteran, is heading up Protect Our Defenders, a non-profit devoted to stopping sexual assault in the military.

Carnivaleis said that news and the #MeToo movement is sending a strong message.

“We're not in the shadows. This is 2018 now, you know? We are more empowered now and saying 'No more.'”

As for holding military members accountable, several have been handled at court-martial. Two dozen military members faced administrative discipline.

<![CDATA[Firefighters Knock Down Car Fire Near I-15 and I-805]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 11:48:04 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Car_Fire_Web_Clip_1200x675_1137440323844.jpg

Firefighters quickly knocked down a car fire that billowed smoke Monday along northbound Interstate 805, near Interstate 15.

San Diego Fire-Rescue crews doused the car fully engulfed in flames and prevented the fire from spreading to nearby brush.

A Sig Alert was issued for the incident. As of 11:14 a.m., crews were blocking the right lane and traffic was backed up to State Route 94, according to the alert.

No further information is currently available. For the latest traffic report, visit NBC 7's traffic page.

Check back on this story for updates.

<![CDATA[SDPD Officer Injured in Traffic Collision]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:33:48 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/5AF_VO_SDPD_OFFICER_STR_KNSD4H1O_1200x675_1137306179770.jpg

A San Diego police officer was injured when another vehicle collided with his patrol car after midnight Monday in Lincoln Park.

Two officers inside the SDPD vehicle had just completed a U-turn with the emergency lights activated when they say an erratic driver crossed over the yellow line and struck the cruiser head-on.

One officer was treated for minor injuries and the passenger in the civilian vehicle was taken to a nearby hospital. No word on the passenger's condition.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Impersonating Doctor at Sharp Grossmont]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 22:03:25 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Grossmont-Hospital-Garske.jpg

La Mesa police arrested a man at Sharp Grossmont hospital who allegedly impersonated a doctor.

Zaid Jeorge is accused of felony impersonation and practicing medicine without a license.

According to a hospital security department memo, a security guard questioned Jeorge last Thursday in a doctors’ lounge at the hospital.

Jeorge was reportedly wearing blue scrubs and a doctor’s coat embroidered with the Sharp HealthCare logo and his name identifying him as an anesthesiologist.

According to the memo, Jeorge was carrying a stethoscope, a “cell phone with Arabic messages visible on the screen” and car keys for a rented Mercedes-Benz sedan.

Jeorge had no credentials or Sharp HealthCare identification.

The hospital’s security manager said Jeorge told security he was a “student in Sweden and was here to learn more as part of his student apprenticeship."

When asked if he had a sponsor, liaison or escort,Jeorge allegedly gave the name of a hospital doctor who later told security he did not really know Jeorge, and said he “latched on to him a few weeks ago after (the doctor) accepted a connection request from Jeorge on LinkedIn.

Jeorge’s LinkedIn profile says he’s a Harvard Medical School graduate and a Sharp HealthCare physician. His LinkedIn and Instagram profiles include photos of him posing in a Sharp Healthcare doctor’s coat, in front of the hospital.

According to the hospital’s memo, the La Mesa Police Department evaluated Jeorge for both mental fitness and as potential terrorism threat. They searched his car and found two passports and a document showing a local address in El Cajon.

The Medical Board of California, which licenses doctors, has no listing for a Dr. Zaid Jeorge.

Dr. Ted Mazer, president of the California Medical Association, said hospitals have stringent security to assure that impostors cannot gain entrance to surgery suites or patient treatment areas.

Mazer, who is affiliated with Sharp and Alvarado hospitals, said doctors and nurses know their colleagues, and will quickly question anyone they don’t recognize.

“There’s a whole new (additional) level of security,” in those patient treatment areas, Mazer explained. “When you walk into an operating room, everyone has to know who's who in the room, and you're not going to have an impostor walk into an operating room and be handed a scalpel. I mean, it's just not going to happen."

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Broadcaster CS Keys Was 'Leader,' 'Kind-Hearted': Brother]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 10:48:26 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cs+keys+2.jpg

San Diego sportscaster and radio personality C.S. Keys died in La Mesa Saturday. 

La Mesa police officers were called to Keys’ home Saturday morning where he was pronounced dead. The death was not suspicious, police said but it was not yet clear how he died. 

Keys worked at a number of media outlets since coming to San Diego in 2000, including KUSI News and CW 6, according to the sportscaster’s online biography page. Most recently Keys hosted the "C.S. Keys Show” on the Mighty 1090.

Keys brother, Richard, said he could not believe what he heard when his mother called to tell him C.S. had passed Saturday. 

"I had to have a few minutes to absorb that, and I just lost it completely — to think that my little brother was gone before me — that’s not supposed to happen," Richard said. 

In a somber interview full of tears Sunday, Richard told NBC 7 his brother was a leader who had a way with people. 

"He touched a lot of people," Richard said. "Often you only come across a person like that once in a great while. He touched a large group of people."

Richard was proud of his younger brother.

"I just want people to remember that he was a kind-hearted individual and he loved his family,” he said while fighting tears. 

Keys leaves behind two sons and a daughter.

The Mighty 1090 Program Director Mike Shepard said in a statement on their website that the team was shocked to learn of the broadcaster’s death.

“All of us at The Mighty 1090 are stunned and saddened by the untimely passing of our teammate, C.S. Keys. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his fans and the San Diego sports community at this difficult time,” the post read.

Before coming to San Diego, Keys worked in Pennsylvania and started his broadcasting career in North Carolina, the biography page said.

Keys received two Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards for Best Talk Show and was honored with the Fredrick Douglas True Trailblazer Award, the site said.

Photo Credit: Facebook/C.S. Keys Fan Page]]>
<![CDATA[NASA's Images Archive Is a Universe of Amazing]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:46:01 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/200*120/07-30-2017-nasa-black-hole-blazar-1.jpg Most of the 140,000 entries look like something generated by a crack special effects team, but no -- it's all just the universe being the universe. NASA's newly unveiled photo archive is a collection of some of the most amazing images captured during the space program's history.

Photo Credit: NASA]]>
<![CDATA[CHP Officers Run Down High Speed Pursuit Suspect on I-15]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:14:51 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/CHP+PURSUIT+clip.jpg

California Highway Patrol officers have taken a high-speed pursuit suspect into custody after being led on a chase on southbound Interstate 15 that exceeded speeds of 100 MPH.

Officers took the driver into custody on the shoulder of I-15 HOV lanes near the Poway Road exit at around 4:15 p.m.

An off-duty CHP officer initially reported the driver to authorities.

No other information was available.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

Photo Credit: Cal Trans]]>
<![CDATA['Upset the Bunnies': Break-In Reported at Rabbit Shelter]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:42:37 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDPD-Generic-padge-patch.jpg

San Diego police are investigating a break-in reported at the San Diego House Rabbit Society Monday.

When police arrived at the location on Mercury Street in Kearny Mesa around 2 a.m., officers found the door forced open.

The robbers rifled through the cash box and stole a donation jar. There was no cash kept in the register, but the jar held about fifty bucks, Patricia Mulcahy said, Co-Chapter Manager and Treasurer at San Diego House Rabbit Society, in a social media post.

“We had what was called Poppy’s fund, which was a jar lovingly made by a good supporter of ours who has since passed," Mulcahy said.

The jar was an upsetting loss because it held some sentimental value. She explained the burglars must have "worked really hard" to break in.

“It looks like they were just hammering it really hard to get the knob itself off," Mulcahy said. “What’s interesting is [that] it’s a really, really sturdy door."

There was a security guard nearby, but the person did not see or hear anything, police said. When the burglars broke in, they set off sensor alarms that called the authorities.

Three police cars, one K-9 unit and helicopters searched the location for a suspect but did not find anyone.

“Luckily, all the rabbits are okay," Mulcahy said. “The police did do a sweep with a canine, and I’m sure that kind of upset the bunnies but when I got here they were fine.”

The bunny shelter is now planning to invest in three more security cameras and said donations are welcome. Mulcahy said their security system was well worth the cost.

"We were very lucky," she added.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Simone Biles: I Was Sexually Abused by Gymnastics Doctor]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:44:23 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_16273701850851.jpg

Simone Biles, the golden girl of the 2016 Olympics, added her name Monday to the list of gymnasts who say they were molested by team doctor Larry Nassar, NBC News reported.

The revelation came on her social media accounts — one day before a weeklong sentencing hearing where Nassar will hear from nearly 100 victims.

"I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar," she continued.

Biles' statement follows similar disclosures from three members of the 2012 "Fierce Five" team — McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. They are not expected to be at Nassar's sentencing, but 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher will testify at the marathon hearing.

Photo Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Army Vet Sues VA Over Scalpel Left in Body After Surgery]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:13:15 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Scalpel+in+veterans+pelvis.JPG

An Army veteran had been living with a scalpel in his abdomen that was used during surgery four years ago at the VA Hospital in West Haven, Connecticut, according to the man's attorney. 

Glenford Turner filed a malpractice lawsuit against the United States on Friday after an X-ray revealed a scalpel in his abdomen.

The 61-year-old Iraq war veteran, who lives in Bridgeport, was suffering from dizziness and abdominal pains, according to Faxon Law Group, the group that filed the malpractice lawsuit.

"Any one of those organs could have been pierced by this and he could have been killed," attorney Joel Faxon told NBC Connecticut.

Turner went to the West Haven campus of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System on March 29, 2017, for an MRI, but his pain got worse and the process was abruptly stopped, according to Faxon Law Group.

X-rays revealed that a scalpel had been left inside the veteran’s body near his stomach and intestines. Doctors determined it was left from a prostate cancer procedure performed on Aug. 30, 2013, at the West Haven VA, according to Faxon Law Group.

"In my judgment, it’s clearly a seven-figure case when somebody leaves a scalpel like this in you and you have the future risk of having infections or adhesions or other problems that could necessitate additional surgery," Faxon said in an interview.

In April 2017, Turner went through surgery to remove the scalpel. Faxon said a few months later in June, he filed a claim on Turner's behalf with the West Haven VA under the Federal Torts Claims Act but the issue was not resolved, which is why they filed the federal lawsuit last week. 

The lawyer calls it "an incomprehensible level of incompetence."

Senator Richard Blumenthal responded to the lawsuit with a statement, saying he was "appalled and stunned" by the "egregious" malpractice.

"While the court determines liability, I have asked for a detailed explanation from VA of this deeply troubling report," Blumenthal said in the statement. "I am demanding also full accountability so this kind of horrific negligence never happens again. America owes our veterans the world’s best medical care, nothing less."

The West Haven VA spokesperson said they haven't had a chance to review the lawsuit since they were closed on Monday for the holiday. They said they hope to provide a response to NBC Connecticut later in the week. 

A federal judge in Bridgeport has been assigned to the case. 

Photo Credit: Faxon Law Group]]>
<![CDATA[Haitians Protest Trump Over 'S--thole' Remark in Florida]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:02:09 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-905297350.jpg

Dozens of South Florida Haitians gathered to protest President Donald Trump in West Palm Beach on Monday in response to the president reportedly calling Haitians and African nations "s--thole countries" during a White House meeting.

"What do we want? An apology!" the protesters chanted as they marched and waved Haitian flags with Trump not far away in Palm Beach County.

The White House has not denied that Trump said the word "s--thole," though Trump did push back on some depictions of the meeting.

"I don't want my kids to grow up thinking their parents are from a sh--hole country," protester James Leger said. "We're asking you to apologize to the Haitians."

A pro-Trump group across the street waved American flags.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies and West Palm Beach Police officers were at the protest scene to make sure everyone stayed safe.

The president left Palm Beach County Monday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CVS to End Beauty Image Edits]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:03:24 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cvs-photos-altered_720.jpg

Pharmacy giant CVS announced Monday that it would ban touchups of images for beauty products from its stores, websites, social media and marketing materials, a move advocates say is pivotal in the battle for beauty image transparency.

"We all want to be reflected in a true fashion, we want to look at photographs that feel real and authentic," Helena Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy, said in a video statement.

CVS Health, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, said it would begin making changes to its own products in store this April. It will also require all products sold by CVS to comply by 2020, or they will be marked with a "CVS Beauty Mark" warning label.

"Twenty million women will experience some sort of eating disorder in their lifetime. Ten million men will do so, as well," said Mia Holland, a Bridgewater State University psychology professor. "There's a reason, there's something out there that's precipitating this and that's the unrealistic images."

Holland applauds CVS' efforts, but says others need to step up for this to have a wide-reaching effect.

"It needs to start with models, it needs to start actresses, it needs to start with the people who are promoting the images in the first place," said Holland.

Shoppers told NBC10 Boston they were pleased with the change.

"When you grow up seeing all these unrealistic beauty standards, you know you kind of feel – it definitely takes an effect on your self-image," said CVS shopper Sabrina Belozerova.

"I think it's great, anything making it more real for people actually know what people look like is always a good thing," added Claire Marvin.

CVS has previously made changes in its stores to support broader health issues. It stopped selling tobacco products in 2014, and last year it announced it would remove certain chemicals from about 600 beauty and personal-care products by the end of 2019.

CVS runs more than 9,700 retail locations.

Photo Credit: CVS Health]]>
<![CDATA[Matt Kemp Puts San Diego Mansion Back On Market]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 11:41:57 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/matt-kemp-poway-mansion.jpg Matt Kemp has re-listed his San Diego-area mansion for $7.95 million, months after dropping a plan to auction the property.

Photo Credit: Antis Real Estate Photography/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Escaped Chino Inmate Found: Police]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 22:08:26 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/01.15.17_Michael-Garrett.jpg

A search for an escaped prison inmate ended Monday evening in the Encinitas area.

Michael Garrett was incarcerated at the minimum-security Chino Men's State Prison, but Sunday night prison guards realized he was missing after inmate count.

Garrett was originally arrested in San Diego County and was serving a 4 year, 8 month sentene for grand theft auto, burglary and evading police.

Garrett is described as a 33-year-old white man. He is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 197 pounds.

The Chino Police Department announced Monday evening that he had been found in Encinitas and taken into custody.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Chino Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Senators Who Didn't Recall Trump Vulgarity Backtrack]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 05:34:05 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/durbin+cotton+perdue.png

Two Republican senators who attended a meeting on immigration with President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that he did not use the phrase "s--thole countries" in reference to Haiti and African nations, and one accused Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, of misrepresenting the president's comments.

Sen. David Perdue, of Georgia, said in an appearance on ABC's "This Week" that Durbin's account of Thursday's meeting at the White House was a "total misrepresentation" of what happened. 

Perdue, one of six lawmakers present at the meeting, insisted on Sunday that Trump "did not use that word."

Sen. Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, was also at the meeting and echoed Perdue’s denial on CBS' "Face The Nation" Sunday. 

"I didn't hear that word either," Cotton said, adding, "I certainly didn't hear what Senator Durbin has said repeatedly." 

Trump addressed the issue briefly Sunday as he arrived for dinner at one of his Florida golf clubs with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Asked what he thinks about people who think he's racist, Trump said: "I am not a racist." He told reporters: "I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you." 

Trump sparked domestic and international backlash after reports surfaced that he made vulgar remarks as Durbin and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, presented details of a potential bipartisan deal to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as "Dreamers," from deportation, while adding various border security measures - one of Trump's key demands.

Trump questioned why the U.S. would accept immigrants from Haiti and demanded that they be taken out of the deal, Durbin said Friday, corroborating accounts of the disparaging comments first reported by The Washington Post

When the discussion turned to immigration from Africa, Trump then reportedly asked why the U.S. would allow "people from s--thole countries come here" and suggested instead that the U.S. bring in more people from places like Norway.

In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah did not deny or even address the comments made.

"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," Shah said. "Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation."

However, Trump claimed Friday on Twitter that he did not use that term, saying "The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used," and later tweeting, "Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said 'take them out.' Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!" 

Durbin forcefully rejected that denial Friday, saying Trump "said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist."

"I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday," Durbin said during a press conference at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast. "He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly," he continued.

"When the question was raised about Haitians, for example, we have a group that have temporary protected status in the United States because they were the victims of crises and disasters, political upheaval. The largest is El Salvadoran, the second is Honduran and the third is Haitian and when I mentioned that fact to him he said 'Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?'" Durbin recounted. 

Both Cotton and Perdue attacked Durbin's credibility on Sunday, with Cotton claiming Durbin has a "history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings."

"I didn't hear it, and I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was," Cotton said, adding, "And I know what Dick Durbin has said about the president's repeated statements is incorrect." 

Sunday's remarks appeared to mark a shift from the statement issued jointly by Cotton and Perdue on Friday, in which both lawmakers said they "do not recall the President saying these comments specifically," to an outright denial that Trump used the vulgarity in question.

A spokesman for Durbin seized on that shift to turn questions of credibility onto Cotton and Perdue.

"Credibility is something that’s built by being consistently honest over time," Durbin’s director of communications Ben Marter tweeted Sunday morning. "Senator Durbin has it. Senator Perdue does not. Ask anyone who’s dealt with both."

"Yesterday, Senators Cotton and Perdue 'could not recall' what the President said," he later added. "Today they can. That, folks, is a credibility problem." 

Cotton and Perdue's account also seemed to conflict with that of Graham. South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott told The Post and Courier Friday that Graham confirmed to him that the comments as reported were "basically accurate."

"Following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday," Graham later said in a statement. "The President and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I've always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals."

Some of Durbin's Democratic colleagues came to his defense Sunday, with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia saying that the idea that Durbin or Graham would "make something up" was wrong.

"I don't believe that any senator would walk in and make something up so atrocious as that, and say this is what was said, when it wasn't said," Manchin said on "Face The Nation."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went further, tweeting, "To impugn @SenatorDurbin's integrity is disgraceful. Whether you agree with him on the issues or not, he is one of the most honorable members of the Senate." 

As the back-and-forth continued Sunday, Trump tweeted that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, at the center of negotiations after his administration ended the policy temporarily protecting "Dreamers" in September, is "probably dead" - casting further doubts on already tenuous and strained negotiations.

Some Democrats have threatened to vote against legislation to extend government funding, which expires on Friday, unless protections for the Dreamers are included.

"Honestly I don't think the Democrats want to make a deal," Trump said. "I think they talk about DACA but they don't want to help the DACA people."

Trump said Democrats aren't for securing the border and stopping the flow of drugs.

"We have a lot of sticking points but they're all Democrat sticking points. We are ready, willing and able to make a deal."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, Files
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[At Least 20 Died in the California Mudslides. Their Stories:]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 20:30:58 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Search_Continues_for_Mudslide_Survivors_in_Santa_Barbara_Cou.jpg

An immigrant from Mexico and a pair of sisters were among the 20 people killed in devastating mudslides that brought tragedy and sorrow to the idyllic coastal community of Montecito, California.

Other victims included a 30-year-old man and his 6-year-old son and father-in-law; a doctor and his daughter who died in the arms of her brother, a young mother asleep with her 3-year-old daughter as her 10-year-old nephew slumbered nearby; and a woman and her 89-year-old husband of more than 50 years who celebrated his birthday the day before the disaster.

Here are their stories and those of others in the community where victims ranged from captains of industry to the people who manicure their lawns:


Sisters Sawyer Corey, 12, and Morgan Christine Corey, 25, were sleeping when the mud smashed into their home.

Sawyer was found dead earlier in the week. Her sister's body was found Saturday in mud and debris.

[[468512253, C]]

"As with so many other families, we know that as their house came down around them -- our girls clung to each other as best they could while being washed away," their brother Taylor Owens wrote on a fundraising web page.

Sawyer's twin sister, Summer, and their mother, Carie Baker, were injured and being treated at a hospital, relatives reported.

The family's grief "is immense, insurmountable, and impossible to communicate," Owens wrote.


Dr. Mark Montgomery and his family returned from a Brazilian vacation only two days before the mudslide that killed him and daughter Caroline came crashing down a hillside into their two-story home.

Montgomery's wife and oldest daughter had left for a business trip to New York soon after returning home Sunday. He stayed behind with 22-year-old Caroline, who had just graduated from college, and his 20-year-old son, Duffy.

The three were asleep before dawn Tuesday when the mudslide slammed into their home. The 54-year-old physician, sleeping downstairs, was swept away.

His daughter, sleeping upstairs, was engulfed in mud and other debris. As Duffy tried to save her she died in his arms, said Dr. Michael Behrman, a longtime family friend. Her brother suffered a broken shoulder blade and other injuries.

Behrman had been staying in the Montgomery family's home while they vacationed, his own home having burned down during the devastating wildfire that struck the area last month.

[[468837103, C]]
[[468837103, C]]

"Having a house burned down and losing all your stuff doesn't seem like a very big deal now," he told The Associated Press. "It's losing Mark and his daughter and the utter devastation of the area that has gone along with that. I, like everybody here, knew several of the other people who died."

He was especially close to Montgomery, having recruited his fellow orthopedic surgeon to Santa Barbara more than 20 years ago and having mentored Montgomery during his residency.

"He made a huge difference in people's lives," Behrman said. "He was an absolutely wonderful guy, who had a kind word for everybody, very friendly, compassionate and wonderful with his patients."

As word of the physician's death spread, tributes poured onto social media.

"He fixed my hand after a camping accident in 2012, two weeks before my wedding," David Iglesias told KSBY. "I cut all the tendons in my fingers. He was able to reattach them. I have full use and feeling in my hand because of Dr. Montgomery."


Marilyn Ramos was asleep in bed with her 3-year-old daughter, Kaelly Benitez, when the mudslide came crashing through their rental home, carrying both to their deaths.

Also killed was Kaelly's 10-year-old cousin, Jonathan Benitez, who was asleep nearby.

Marilyn's husband, Antonio Benitez, was injured, as was his brother, Victor, who is Jonathan's father. Victor's 2-year-old son survived, but his wife, Faviola Benitez Calderon, 28, was missing.

[[468808713, C]]

The brothers, immigrants from Mexico, owned a gardening and landscaping business in Montecito. Marilyn was a stay-at-home mom.

"My sister was such a good person, she only thought of others to the point that she would cry with you when you were hurt or sick," Jennifer Ramos said between sobs as she spoke by phone from her home in Mexico.

Her 27-year-old sister called relatives every day in the town of Marquelia, near Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast, Jennifer Ramos said. When a call didn't come Tuesday she sensed something was wrong.

During her last call home the day before, Marilyn put her daughter on the phone and she happily told her aunt about the toys she received on Jan. 6, The Day of the Magi, a holiday widely celebrated in Latin America.

During a visit home in September, Marilyn Ramos told her family she missed Mexico and hoped to return someday. On Friday, her family spoke with Mexican officials about bringing her body back.


Martin Cabrera Munoz, 48, was sleeping in the room he kept at his boss's home on East Valley Road when an avalanche of mud ripped through the property.

Munoz worked long hours as a landscaper, sending money back to Guanajuato, Mexico, where his two sons, 26 and 12, and 19-year-old daughter live.

"Overall, he wanted to give his kids a better life," his youngest sister, Diana Montero, told the Los Angeles Times.

[[468482733, C]]

Munoz grew up in Guanajuato and came to the U.S. to join his mother in 1998. He was the second of eight siblings, most of whom live in Southern California.

Montero said her brother was hard-working and loved to joke around with his family.

"He listened to music all day long -- any type of Mexican music, rock and KISS," she recalled.


The body of 30-year-old Pinit Sutthithepa was found Saturday and crews were still searching for his 2-year-old daughter, Lydia.

The mudslide decimated Sutthithepa's family, killing his 6-year-old son, Peerawat, and stepfather, Richard Loring Taylor, 79.

"At 4 a.m. the house was obliterated by mud, boulders and rushing water. Literally nothing is left," Mike Caldwell, Sutthithepa's boss at Toyota of Santa Barbara, wrote on a GoFundMe page seeking help for the family.

His wife and mother were working at the time. Another relative was rescued by firefighters.

"This family has lost everything but the clothes they were wearing," Caldwell wrote.

[[468506723, C]]

Sutthithepa immigrated from Thailand, leaving behind his wife and two children but sending them money for years until he could bring them to the United States, a friend, Poy Sayavongs, told the Lee Central Coast News.

"They finally were able to make it to the states in the summer of 2016," Sayavongs said. "It's cruel -- they only had a short time together before this tragedy struck."

A month earlier, the family had evacuated to a Red Cross shelter for a night as the devastating wildfire threatened their home.

"I would've never imagined Peerawat would've been killed by the mudslides, when they were able to survive the Thomas Fire," family friend Kevin Touly told the Central Coast News. "We're just so heartbroken."

Peerawat, known as Pasta, loved trains, Touly told the Los Angeles Times.

Sometimes, Sutthithepa's wife would join him at work and bring along their children, co-worker Anneliese Place told the Times.

Peerawat would run around her desk and giggle, she said.


The body of 87-year-old Joseph Francis Bleckel was found in his Romero Canyon home four days after the disaster hit.

Bleckel and his late wife, Margaret, did not have any children but were always surrounded by 20 nieces and nephews, KSBY-TV reported .

"Basic idea is that he really was an adopted father," nephew Gerald Bleckel told the station. "God, they treated us so special. I really did feel like it was a special relationship."

Joseph Bleckel came out of Depression-era poverty, joined the Navy and served in the Korean War and then used the GI Bill to get an education, according to the family.

"He got a degree and he had a Masters in electrical engineering," said Jim Bleckel, another nephew. "He was a scientific guy, very methodical and precise in everything, very polite."

Joseph Bleckel worked for Westinghouse Electric Corp. in supply chain quality control until he retired at age 66. The family told KSBY he loved to read, travel and watch the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Peter Fleurat was at home with his partner of 17 years during Tuesday's violent storm when the couple felt the floor beneath them shake and roll.

Moments later, a wall of mud burst through their walls and swept him and Ralph "Lalo" Barajas away.

"The last thing Peter yelled out to me was, 'Lalo, grab onto some wood and don't let go,'" Barajas told CBS News. "That was the last I heard of him."

Barajas was rescued, treated for cuts, bruises and a sprained neck and released from a Santa Barbara hospital. He searched for his partner until he got the news that he had died.


Fleurat was a member of the Ventura County Koi Society with a great sense of humor, society president Mary Oxman told the Los Angeles Times. He sometimes showed up to meetings wearing bright colors or silly sunglasses.

"He liked to do silly, off-the-wall things just to see how people would react," Oxman said.

Barajas is the owner of The Rose, a popular Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara, and his niece, Angelique Barajas, responded to offers of help from customers by launching a GoFundMe page for him.

She said her uncle will need money to replace his home and possessions -- and to bury his partner.


Jim and Alice Mitchell had been married for more than 50 years and had just celebrated Jim's 89th birthday when they were swept away along with their dog Gigi.

Jim, who worked in labor relations, and Alice, a schoolteacher, had moved to Montecito in 1995 after raising their two children in Southern California's Orange County.

"They're an adorable couple, and they were in love with their house," their daughter, Kelly Weimer, said Wednesday before learning they had died.

She last spoke to them Monday when she called to wish her father a happy birthday.

The couple had planned to stay at home the night of the storm and have a quiet dinner. Their grandson had taken them out to celebrate the day before.

The Mitchells are survived by their two children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Rebecca Riskin was the picture of success and health.

Her firm, Riskin Partners, credited the former ballerina with having closed more than $2 billion in high-end real estate sales since she founded the company in the early 1990s.

"She's leaving a huge void. She was exceptional," said Gina Conte, who described the 61-year-old Riskin as her best friend, mentor and confidante.

Conte said Riskin, who was the maid of honor at her wedding, took joy in pairing the perfect home with the perfect family and loved cooking, going for long walks and spending movie nights with her family.

[[468521723, C]] 

Riskin was swept away after the mudslide tore through her living room, Conte said, adding that Riskin's husband survived because he was in bed in a part of the house that stayed intact. Her body was found Wednesday near a highway.

Riskin Partners spokeswoman Erin Lammers said Riskin was a member of the American Ballet Theater in New York before an injury cut short her dancing career.

She returned to her hometown of Los Angeles in 1979, where she began selling high-end real estate on the city's west side. She moved to Montecito in the early 1990s.

Riskin is survived by her husband, two grown children and a grandson.


Lauren Cantin became the face of survival when rescuers pulled the mud-covered 14-year-old girl from her flattened home earlier this week. Authorities said her 49-year-old father, David, died and her 17-year-old brother, Jack, is missing.

David Cantin was vice president of global sales for a leading developer of instruments used by surgeons. Cantin's company, NDS Surgical Imaging, developed some of the medical industry's earliest digital imaging technologies for minimally invasive surgery.

He graduated from Bryant University and obtained a graduate degree from Xavier University, according to his employer's website. He also was a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts.

His house was destroyed by the mudslide that buried his daughter for hours before firefighters could rescue her.

"I thought I was dead for a minute," she told them before an ambulance took her away.

Her mother, Kim, also was rescued.

NeoTract, a maker of devices used in urology, launched a fundraising page asking for financial support for the family. In two days it more than tripled its goal of $20,000.


Josephine "Josie" Gower was celebrated by family as a woman who loved and embraced life for each one of her 69 years.

"I have never met anyone quite like her and never will again," her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower wrote on Facebook after authorities confirmed Gower was among those killed by the mudslides. "She was the life of the party, always, and loved us all so fiercely. She lived for her kids and for our kids."

Gower's own Facebook page reveals a woman with a playful love of life. One photo shows her dressed as a mermaid by a pool while others show her riding horses and cuddling with her cats.

"A bundle of fun," her daughter-in-law said. "She was just simply the most loving, cheerful, beautiful, strong, independent force. We will miss her so."

She is survived by two adult children and three grandchildren.


Friends and family remembered John McManigal as a dedicated family man who died trying to help one of his six children flee the pre-dawn mudslide as it enveloped their home.

Awakened by a last-second warning Tuesday that disaster was approaching, McManigal, 61, roused his 23-year-old son, Connor, and the pair tried to flee. He was killed. His son, carried a mile by the mud, survived.

"Connor, is recovering from serious injuries in the hospital," a friend said in a statement posted on a GoFundMe page created for the family.

The posting described McManigal as "an amazing man, father of six, and a loving husband."

His community activities included serving as a host father for the Santa Barbara Foresters baseball club, for which Connor played.

"Like the rest of our larger Santa Barbara community, we are crushed by this tragedy," the club said in a statement. "We send love, prayers, and strength to the affected families and their loved ones."


Roy Rohter was the revered founder of a private Catholic school in nearby Ventura.

The 84-year-old former real estate broker had fled his Montecito home just last month when it came under threat from a wildfire. He died at that home, authorities confirmed Thursday.

"Roy believed intensely in the power of a Catholic education," St. Augustine Headmaster Michael Van Hecke, said this week. "He's been a deep supporter of the school in every way and a mentor to me personally, to the faculty and to the kids."

Officials of the K-12 school Rohter founded in 1994 said his wife was injured in the mudslide but survived.

"Pray also for his wife, Theresa, the gentle giant of charity and grace, and for his children and grandchildren," the school said in a statement.


Rogers and Watson reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Krysta Fauria in Montecito and Christopher Weber, Amanda Lee Myers, Robert Jablon and John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[LA Shelter Finding Forever Homes for Senior or Disabled Dogs]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 10:21:35 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/180114-beople%27s-buddies-lc.JPG

Los Angeles' animal shelters are full of abandoned dogs waiting to be adopted, but those with special needs have an especially tough time finding a forever home. One local woman, however, has made it her mission to find homes for these special needs dogs.

Hillary Benda is a former social worker-turned animal rescuer, and she is most definitely a dog person. Benda has made it her mission to save as many hard-to-adopt dogs as possible.

She developed her passion in 2010, when she fell in love with her dog Beople, who was living in a shelter after being abandoned by his owner.

"He'd definitely seen better days," Benda said. "He was 8 to 10 years old, kind of on death's doorstep, all of his hair had fallen out."

And at just 2-and-a-half pounds, with all of his teeth also falling out, nobody wanted to adopt him.

Instead of giving up on him, though, Benda took Beople home with her, cleaning him up and nursing him back to health. Before long, Beople was thriving.

"I was able to bring him back to life and it really ignited something in me," Benda said.

That dramatic transformation inspired Benda to found Beople's Buddies in 2013. The nonprofit rescue in LA's Pico-Robertson neighborhood helps find homes for senior dogs and dogs with special needs.

One such dog is Princess Coconut. The little Labrador-poodle mix was born with dysfunctional hind legs and, after she was taken from an abusive breeder, she too wound up in a shelter where nobody wanted her because of her disability.

"Princess was scared of everything, terrified of life," Benda said. "She took a lot of socializing to get her to even be touched."

But the tiny dog did learn how to socialize after being fostered by Benda, and she now lives with Alexandria Laine and her family in Long Beach. These days Princess Coconut has a special wheelchair to help her amble about, but she prefers to scoot around on her own.

Laine has never regretted adopting a dog with special needs.

"Even though you're a blessing to their lives, they end up being a blessing to you more than anything," Laine said. 

Princess Coconut is just one of dozens of special needs dogs who have a loving home thanks to Beople's Buddies. Though Beople passed away in 2017, the charity named in his honor leaves behind a great legacy.

"We've brought a lot of people together who believe in the cause and what we're doing and it all stems from Beople," Benda said. "So his story, this little guy, he's not forgotten."

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV ]]>
<![CDATA[Local Students Build Temporary Housing for Homeless]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 20:20:17 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Local_Students_Build_Temporary_Housing_for_Homeless.jpg

South Bay students are working on a temporary housing project to help solve San Diego's homeless crisis Monday.

The students from High Tech High in Chula Vista are learning new life lessons along with science and liberal arts while tackling the project. They are building an 8-by-8-inch tiny housing structure outside of St. Luke's Church in North Park.

It's a chance for the ninth graders to experience the basic physics of building a home, while using a type of wood that is designed to snap easily into place.

"We're using what we call c-wood which is a different shaped wood," explained Chris Scott, the founder of I-Wood International. "And the reason we do that is that it tends to interlock when it joins together."

The subtle teachings of empathy are woven through hands-on, practical training and science lessons.

"For us, instead of trying to fix homelessness, we're trying to restore dignity," said Izabelle Faith Pusung, a student working on the project. 

The project also teaches students to consider the complexities of human behavior in unexpected circumstances, and that drugs and mental illness are not always the driving forces behind homelessness. 

"They've had some sort of horrible thing happen to them and this can happen to any one of us," said Regina Kruglyak, a teacher at High Tech High School. "So I want the students to understand this can happen to them as well."

One of the most important takeaways from the students' project is building self-esteem, as they tackle unknown tasks and face new challenges. 

"It's actually helped in my outlook on things especially when you see someone on the streets, instead of shunning away, a simple smile can help," said Marissa Lee, another participating student.

On Saturday, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., the students will hold a demonstration for the public by St. Luke's Church in North Park. They'll assemble and take apart the temporary structures to show how simple it is.

<![CDATA[Hundreds of Motorcyclists Shut Down I-8 With Tricks: CHP]]> Sun, 14 Jan 2018 22:38:44 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/motorcycles+shut+down+freeway+2.PNG

Hundreds of motorcyclists shut down a San Diego freeway to perform tricks in the middle of the road, causing at least one crash Sunday, officials confirmed. 

Officers responded to reports of a crash on eastbound Interstate 8 near Hotel Circle in Mission Valley. When they arrived, they found hundreds of motorcyclists stopping traffic on the busy freeway, California Highway Patrol said.

The riders were performing tricks.

Footage sent to NBC 7 by viewer Shelby Caron showed several motorcyclists off their bikes. At least one motorist was also out of her car in what appeared to be a confrontation with riders.

A viewer told NBC 7 drivers were attempting to get past the cyclists but couldn’t.

Westbound traffic was also stopped as onlookers tried to figure out what was going on, CHP said.

At some point, a minor accident occurred when one of the motorcyclists collided with a car, CHP said. The motorcyclist was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.  

No other information was available.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

Photo Credit: Shelby Caron]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Deadly Stabbing Outside Poway 7-Eleven]]> Sun, 14 Jan 2018 19:14:14 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Man_Stabbed_Outside_Poway_Convenience_Store.jpg

A man has been arrested for murder in connection with a deadly stabbing in Poway.

Kevin Talbott, 30, a transient from the Poway area, was booked into the San Diego Central Jail where he is being held without bail. 

Deputies received a report that a man was stabbed outside a 7-Eleven convenience store near Poway and Pomerado roads at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) Lt. Rich Williams said.

When deputies arrived, they discovered a man with what appeared to be stab wounds. Responders with the Poway Fire Department performed life-saving measures on the man before transporting him to a nearby hospital.

The man did not survive his wounds.

During their investigation, deputies discovered Talbott near the scene. He matched the description given to them of the possible assaulter, Williams said. He was detained for questioning and subsequently arrested. 

At the scene, deputies could be seen searching at least two cars — a red car parked along Pomerado Road and a second vehicle. It is unclear if or how the vehicles are connected.

A large portion of Pomerado Road, the intersection nearby, and the 7-Eleven were closed off during the investigation. 

The investigation into the stabbing is ongoing. No other information was immediately available. 

This is a developing story and details may change as more information becomes available. Refresh this page for the latest information. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Dash Cam Shows Airborne Car Plow Into 2nd Floor of Building]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 21:05:02 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/car+airborne+into+building+santa+ana+3.jpg

A car wound up on the second floor of a dental office in Orange County after hitting a median on the street.

The accident happened around 5:25 a.m. near the intersection of French and 17th streets in Santa Ana, the Santa Ana Police Department said in a press release. The white sedan, which was traveling northbound on French Street at high speeds, hit a raised center median on 17th Street and went airborne.

The car caught fire after it went into the building, said Daniel Sanchez, who witnessed the accident. The driver managed to get out, but was left dangling off the bottom of the vehicle until police could catch him, Sanchez said.

"It was crazy, it really was," Sanchez said. The driver, who admitted to using drugs, was taken to a hospital, along with a passenger, the SAPD said. Both sustained minor injuries. There were no other reported injuries.

Crews needed to use a crane to remove the car from the building, photos show. 

Photo Credit: Twitter/Orange County Fire Authority
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search for Suspect After Body Found in Encanto Canyon]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:28:28 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/EncantoHomicideVictim.JPG

A woman believed to be in her 20s was found dead in an Encanto canyon under suspicious circumstances Saturday, prompting an investigation - which officers are now calling a homicide. 

The unidentified woman's body was discovered at about 2:30 p.m. by a father and daughter walking their dog along a canyon near South 66th Street just off Skyline Drive, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said. The area is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. 

Police at nearby Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park were contacted and found the body in a ravine about 10 to 12 feet down the pathway. 

The body was on a slope and officers weren't able to get close to the body without damaging the crime scene, Griffin said. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office was called to move the body. 

The woman appeared to have injuries to the upper torso and "significant amount of blood" covered the body, Griffin said. She may have been there for a few days before being discovered. 

The death was deemed suspicious and an investigation was launched.

Police would not speculate on how the woman died without a report from the medical examiner but said gunshots were reported overnight in the same general vicinity. It was not clear if the two were connected.

Police began investigating a second location about a block away, near 65th Street and Pittsburg Avenue, Saturday evening. The area was blocked off. It was not clear if the two investigations were related. 

No other information was available.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

<![CDATA[Worshipers 'Pray for Trump's Soul' After MLK Service in NYC]]> Sun, 14 Jan 2018 16:26:47 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WNBC+6PM+AIRCHECK+M-Sun+-+18073424_WNBC_000000019459315.jpg

A service honoring civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday was dominated by conversations about vulgar comments President Trump reportedly made about African nations last week. 

Hundreds gathered at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, across the street from Trump Tower, for the interfaith service, which was about equality and unity. Upon arriving, they were given pins that said, “We shall overcome.”

The worshipers gathered not only to honor King, who was assassinated 50 years ago this year, but also to strike down tweets and remarks reportedly made by Trump during an Oval Office meeting last week.

“Dispersing water hoses of the 60s have given way to the divisive tweets of the 21st century,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

During the White House meeting Thursday, Trump questioned the need to admit more Haitians to the U.S., along with Africans from “shithole countries,” according to people briefed on the conversation but not authorized to describe it publicly.

Trump also said in the meeting he would prefer immigrants from countries like Norway instead. The White House has not denied that Trump said the word "shithole," though Trump did push back on some depictions of the meeting.

Worshipers on Sunday called the president's remarks racist and divisive. After the service, some of them had plans to march to Trump Tower to “pray for his soul and our country in a national call to conscience.”

A crowd was gathering outside Trump Tower by 7 p.m. 

Martenia Miller, who attended the service, said she wishes Trump could hear the message being spread just a block away from his eponymous building on Fifth Avenue.

“I can’t really go in and speak to him in a nice, closed off room and explain to him that he really needs to stop and think about America as a group of people who are united for one cause,” Miller said.

Worshipers say Sunday’s event is just one of several they’ll hold to try to unite people from different backgrounds.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/AP]]>
<![CDATA[CHP Issues Sig Alert on SB 5 at SR-54 After Fatal Crash]]> Sun, 14 Jan 2018 23:34:27 -0800 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic-police-lights23.jpg

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has closed every lane except the fast lane on southbound Interstate 5 at State Route 54 after a fatal crash Sunday evening around 9:15 p.m. 

Traffic is reportedly backed up to Mile of Cars Way. 

CHP reports the driver of a Toyota Camry lost control near the SR-54 and hit a light pole.

The driver died but has not been identified.

Other details of the accident are still under investigation.

Check back for updates on this breaking story.